In the mercies of Jesus no one known to us was among the victims in the double barrel earthquakes in Christchurch (nor in Japan where we had a contingent of Moriel contacts).
In the initial hours after the second earthquake we scrambled amidst our prayers to get word that our associates in that city were alright. We know Jesus warned of a unique increase in seismic activity as a sign of His Return, but it would be difficult not to attribute some spiritually emblematic significance to the fate of the Anglican cathedral given the utterly backslidden state of that institution. It has already caved in morally, doctrinally, and spiritually so I suppose the cathedralâs demise is simply a reflection of those painful realities, although I wish Anglicans no personal ill and I grieve for the victims of that horrific dual tragedy.
Be that as it may, our prayer is that the Lord will use this twin tragedy to cause New Zealandâs people, a nation with a strong Christian heritage, to seek the faith of their fathers from which so much of the nation has turned. Even so, much of its Evangelical church has become like Australia, North America, and Britain and strayed from what it once believed and once did. I especially pray for the salvation of New Zealandâs Jewish prime minister.
New Zealand is naturally one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. Seismologically however, it is also one of the most dangerous. It sits on the Pacific rim and its capital Wellington is situated on a very major fault with multiple fissures permeating much of the country. Still, we saw the Lordâs grace and mercy in His protection of our friends in that city and for this we are indeed grateful. Christchurch will rebuild structurally, but to see it rebuild spiritually so it will live up to its name as âChristâs Churchâ is a much more formidable task.
Most of the cathedral is so structurally damaged or destroyed that it must be ripped down to its foundation to be rebuilt. According to architectural engineering experts who say stone buildings of that type cannot withstand major seismic shocks, it must be rebuilt with a new foundation and with a high tensile steel.
Indeed, spiritually likewise, the foundation of the church is too weak to withstand the shaking of these last days (Hebrews 12:26-27) for the foundation is no longer Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11) but an abject institutional religiosity with its theocratic politics, moral compromise, and unscriptural dogma. It should be torn down and rebuilt on the correct foundation and then ornamented with new stones (2 Peter 2: 5). Too much of what was proclaimed in that cathedral was no more of God than the raving antics of the infamous wizard who used to debate Ray Comfort in front of it in the square.
But this is hardly peculiar to Christchurch or to New Zealand. Kensington Temple in London, Hillsong and City Church in Sydney, Paradise in Adelaide, or Schullerâs Crystal Cathedral near Los Angeles are no better. Neither is the travesty peculiar to Anglicanism. The shameful scandals in the Elim Movement in NZ with Ian Bilby, the fiasco in Elim in Wellington with Mike Knott, and the legacy of Wayne Hughes in the NZ Assemblies of God were little better. The twisted direction the Bible College of New Zealand has deviated into, away from its Brethren roots, is another aspect of this spiritual tragedy. The Christchurch cathedral and its fate are the mere symbol of a phenomena that stretches well beyond Christchurch and well beyond New Zealand.
The church is not a building and I could personally care less if the cathedral is ever rebuilt. As far as I am concerned they can rip the rest of it down and put up a ten pin bowling alley for all the good the Church of England can deliver to NZ, although restoring the true Body of Christ along scriptural lines is a goal well worth prayerful consideration. I do not believe however, that there is any credence in rebuilding the church on the same failed foundation spiritually and doctrinally anymore than those engineers and geologists find merit is rebuilding it on the same foundation structurally. Although there are fellowships which are still scriptural and notable exceptions in Hutt, Auckland, and I like the Calvary Chapel and Brethren congregations in Christchurch, elsewhere most of the church in New Zealand, as in the UK or USA, is too dilapidated to even consider bothering with let alone worth rebuilding in its current state.
Before any authentic progress can be made there is first of all a dire requirement to acknowledge the need for repentance; then get a bulldozer to clear out the liberal higher criticism, moral compromise, ecumenism, replacement pseudo-theology, and counterfeit revivals before meaningful reconstruction can materialize. Then get a steam shovel and crane and commence the long task of rebuilding with the hard work of prayer, evangelism, scriptural discipleship and exegetical exposition of the Word of God. If the ridiculous failures of the Toronto idiocy, imagined gold teeth, etc. and the hype-artistry and religious con-artistry that went with such carnal nonsense in the church in NZ and other countries taught anything it is that there are no short cuts. If we rebuild with the same useless blueprints, same bad materials, and same faulty foundation, the next shaking will only knock it down again â and rightfully so.
May God bring His people to repentance, and restore His true church in Jesus’ Name.
God Bless New Zealand.
James Jacob Prasch